Right then, it’s finally started, the 2018 NFL draft has finally arrived and is proving many of the self-proclaimed experts wrong already and we’ve only had the 1st round so far!
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was when the New Orleans Saints traded up and all the “experts” on the TV coverage were convinced it was to get Drew Brees’s successor, Lamar Jackson. Instead, they went for the raw but gifted edge rusher Marcus Davenport who has sky-high potential.
There were other cries of “Wow!” and “Whoa!” throughout the event but the first one came as early as the pick #4 when the Browns passed on Bradley Chubb for a cornerback — the best cornerback in the draft by the way.
Anyway, that’s enough of that, let’s have a look at who the Cleveland Browns did come away with from the 1st round of the 2018 NFL draft.
#1 | Baker Mayfield | QB | Oklahoma
Some Browns fans will love this pick, some will hate it and others will be kinda “Meh!” about it. Personally, I absolutely LOVE IT! I’ve been hoping the top pick of the draft would be Baker Mayfield since I saw a graphic the guys at Pro Football Focus put up quite some time ago showing that he was clearly the most talented QB in this class.
As soon as I saw the graphic and saw how the Browns season was going I thought he could very likely have been the first pick this year.
— NFLFan.🇬🇧 (@NFLFan_UK) 27 September 2017
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t dare suggest that I predicted the pick, rather that I hoped it would be the pick right back in September 2017. I did, however, make a nice little amount of money from Bet365 when I got 20/1 odds for my bet that he would be the first player taken in the 2018 NFL draft at the time everyone was predicting it would be Sam Darnold….. Just sayin’.
Things didn’t change by the time the college season finished as Mayfield remained the best QB in the class.
I wouldn’t have been too put out if they’d picked Sam Darnold with the first overall pick as he was the obvious safe pick to be made. I love how John Dorsey has surrounded himself with fantastic talent evaluators and shut himself away from all the bullshit noise that comes from the media and people trying to influence the picks. He and his team have a plan and are sticking to it.
I’ve loved absolutely everything John Dorsey has done so far since his arrival in Cleveland. He’s made brilliant moves in free agency to address huge needs on the team and is continuing to do so in the draft.
So, what does this mean for the future at QB for the Cleveland Browns? Well, after all those years of having nothing but shite at the position, I think they are pretty stacked right now. They have their guy in place as the starter who is in his prime, Tyrod Taylor; their very talented young rookie who plays the game in the same way as their starter and who can/will sit behind him and learn; and a veteran in Drew Stanton who is their primarily to keep the rookie on the straight and narrow and help him be a better player on the field and better person off it with regards to all the extra stuff players do in the community etc.
With Baker Mayfield being 23-years-old, I can’t see him wanting to sit for more than one season and so wouldn’t expect the Browns to extend Tyrod Taylor’s contract seeing as he’s on the last year of his current one. It seems to me that the plan is to build a new offensive scheme around Tyrod Taylor before plugging Mayfield in for the start of the 2019 NFL season, so long as he’s ready. This should work perfectly and seamlessly as they are players from the same mould.
I love this pick and say “Let the haters hate!”
I guess the way the game is played in the AFC North could be changing now that we have Baker Mayfield in Cleveland and Lamar Jackson in Baltimore? Exciting times!
#4 | Denzel Ward | CB | Ohio State
Another brilliant pick by the Browns, regardless of what some people are saying. Yes, I too would have loved to have had Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb on the same defensive line, but a greater need was getting a CB1 to continue the overhaul of the very bad secondary the Browns have had for a while now.
Denzel Ward is clearly the best CB in this draft class and John Dorsey didn’t mess around in getting his man. The team now looks like it could start with T.J. Carrie and Denzel Ward on the outside with Briean Boddy-Calhoun in the slot. They also have E.J. Gaines who is an excellent player when healthy and 2017 4th-round pick Howard Wilson who was injured during minicamp last year. Hopefully, he’ll be back and ready.
In my opinion, it’s still a pretty thin unit and the addition of Ward was a must. Yes, they’ve brought in the likes of T.J. Carrie, E.J. Gaines and Terrance Mitchell during free agency but they still needed Ward.
Terrance Mitchell doesn’t excite me in the slightest and although E.J. Gaines is an excellent player, his injury history could be a worry. I hope Gaines and Wilson light it up after injury-riddled careers and we have a stacked secondary full of healthy talent, but I still think the drafting of Ward at #4 is a great pick and he could very well go straight in as a starter as he’s a very good cover-corner.
With the first round finished, this move could prove to have been the better one anyway. Bradley Chubb would have been nice to have but would have been more of a luxury pick and John Dorsey could mute the critics if he takes Harold Landry at the very top of the 2nd-round. Pro Football Focus (PFF) had him as their #1 overall edge defender in this class going into the draft but he has had an ankle injury to contend with and his final year in college grade dropped to 83.9 from 89.0 during his junior year. Maybe he was playing through the ankle injury still?
He’s a very athletic edge rusher and could complement Garrett well rushing the QB from opposite ends of the line and I do believe we need another edge rusher. Dorsey and co. will probably have to take him with the first pick of the 2nd-round as I expect the New York Giants will be waiting to pounce at #2 if they don’t, as they also could do with a replacement to JPP.
Anyway, it’s a case of “so far, so good!” as far as I’m concerned, and there’s still so much talent available to choose from at the top of the 2nd-round that day 2 of the 2018 NFL draft could be just as exciting and profitable to the Cleveland Browns as day 1 was.
Go get ’em, John!